Seoul Itaewon Halloween crowd crush kills 149 and injured above 150
SEOUL, South Korea – At least 146 people were killed and 150 seriously injured in an unexpected and tragic incident in the South Korean capital on Saturday night. At least 146 people were killed and 150 were seriously injured when dozens of young people celebrating Halloween in Seoul got stuck in a narrow alley and stampeded there.
Emergency workers and pedestrians desperately perform CPR on people lying on the streets after a stampede in the leisure district of Itaewon in the capital Seoul on Saturday night.
Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan Fire Department, told the media that the death toll from Saturday night’s incident is likely to rise and many of the injured are in critical condition.
An estimated 100,000 people flocked here from neighboring areas to celebrate this Halloween – the largest group seen in the region since the COVID-19 pandemic in the last 2 years.
Authorities received the first reports of people “buried” in the crowd at 10:24 p.m. Saturday, but local media reported that the damage had already been done.
Off the main street, a narrow alley lined with bars and restaurants was crowded, local media reported.
“I saw people going left and saw the guy coming in the opposite direction. So, the person in the middle was jammed, so they didn’t have a chance to communicate, so they couldn’t breathe,” witness Sung Sehyun told US Newzs. Witness Sung Sehyun said the place was like a “jammed subway.”
According to local media reports, many of the victims in this incident are young people. It is a very painful and tragic incident.
South Korean President Yun Suk-yeol held an emergency meeting, ordering the task force to make all arrangements to treat the injured immediately.
He also initiated a thorough investigation into the reasons behind his crush.
Yonhap News Agency attributed a statement by fire officials that some people suffered “cardiac arrest” in the incident. Emergency officials reported at least 81 people in the Itaewon neighborhood of Seoul with “difficulty breathing,” where pedestrians and locals performed CPR on many of the victims, officials said. But early indications of a gas leak or fire were downplayed.
In an interview with the news channel YTN, Itaewon visitor and eyewitness Hwang Min-hyeok said he was shocked to see the rows of bodies near the hotel. He said emergency workers were initially overwhelmed and pedestrians struggled to administer CPR to the injured lying on the streets. He said, “People are crying beside the dead bodies of their friends and I am very saddened to see this sad incident.”
Another survivor, in his 20s, escaped being trampled by entering a bar in an alley with its doors open, Yonhap news agency reported. A 20-year-old woman surnamed Park told Yonhap that she and others were standing by the side of the alley, but others caught in the middle of the alley were unable to escape.
Many world leaders expressed their condolences. French President Emmanuel Macron said his thoughts are with the people of South Korea.
“Terrible news from Seoul tonight,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted. “All our thoughts are with those currently responding and all South Koreans at this painful time,” he said in a tweet.
Horrific news from Seoul tonight.— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) October 29, 2022
All our thoughts are with those currently responding and all South Koreans at this very distressing time.
The EU’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, said he was deeply saddened and the US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, pledged America’s support.
This is at least the second deadliest surge recorded this month. In early October, 125 people died near the gates of a soccer stadium in Indonesia, many of whom were trampled or suffocated to death.